Vienna – Another City I Cheated for a Day (28 Dec)

Vienna – Another City I Cheated for a Day (28 Dec)

I woke attempting to repeat the same success I had with Salzburg the day before. I should have known that today would be different from the 3 snoozes it took me to finally get out of bed. I had mapped out a few things the night before so I decided to take the metro out to Schönbrunn Palace where the Hapsburg’s ruled. One famous emperor that ruled here was Franz Josef I of Austria. I’ll talk a little about him later. After taking the audio guide I’ve come to admire him.

Entering the Schönbrunn Square to see the palace.

I took the audio guide tour which was very fascinating. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow photos but it resembled other palaces I’ve taken photos of before. I learned a lot about each of the emperor’s and by far Franz Josef is my favorite. He believed that the position of Emperor was a civil servant position which required diligent work by him, which meant he spent most of his days behind a desk in his office, often seeing more than 100 people a day. He was known for his incredible memory as he supposedly never forgot a face and remembered everyone’s names, even though he might only see them for a few minutes. I don’t know what kind of policies he enacted but this is a good start for an emperor, gives that style of government a good name. He also was completely devoted to his wife, and on the day she died, he was said to have remarked to one of persons close to him in status, “You do not know how much I loved that woman.” A little bit sad as his wife did not feel the same at all. It was an arranged marriage and she felt the institution of marriage was a (paraphrase) commitment which women were forced to make at 16 years of age not understanding it and then regretting it for the rest of their lives. She often spent time away in other parts of Europe and missed out on family dinners that Franz Josef almost always attended, with his eleven daughters. She only let her favorite daughter marry for love, which is kind of passive, and “pity me but don’t change it for others” kind of a thing in terms of her feelings about marriage.

Anyway, it was a great tour and I got stoked about seeing the outside grounds. My goal was to leave by noon so I could tour the city center for the rest of the afternoon.

Side gardens of the palace on my way to the “backyard.” For some reason, this over hanging vine reminds me of the one on the way to “The Demon” ride at Great America. I wonder if it’s still there.

A look at the vast property the emperors of Austria owned. This originally was a hunting lodge, so these were the hunting grounds.

Got me in there for once. Difficult to do when traveling alone. Have to make use of the “myspace” technique. At least I didn’t point the camera into a mirror and make a weird face; although, one could argue about the face I assume.

The fountain at the end of the flat space on the grounds.

Switching places essentially, taken from the whole in the center of the fountain in the previous photo.

The sky made some cool reflections on the water so I tried to capture it.

The palace from atop the hill on which stands the gloriette, a monument that often served as Franz Josef’s breakfast room. There’s a cafe in it now.

The Gloriette, topped with an eagle. It looked pretty cool atop this hill. The original architect of the palace initally wanted to build the palace up here.

Well it was about noon so I rushed back to the metro, expending more energy than I thought I had; I did not realized that I was running on reserves. I emerged in the center of Vienna exhausted but still determined to see everything.

St. Stephan’s Cathedral smack dab in the middle of Vienna’s old town.

Giant organ inside, just above the entrance.

Looking down the inside of the cathedral. I got lucky as 5 minutes after my arrival the mass ended and we were aloud to walk down the side aisle to get some better views of the cathedral.

I emerged from the cathedral and saw this cool looking building. I think it housed some clothing company’s store or something. I didn’t bother checking it out. My exhaustion had begun to affect my desire to do things now.

Just down the street stood St. Peter’s cathedral, which I dropped into and at just the right moment. Coincidentally, mass ended almost immediately after I entered and so I was able to see more of this cathedral as well.

It even had a dead knight I assume as a saint?

And of course, the organ.

Upon exiting this cathedral my body couldn’t handle my goals anymore. I quickly lost all motivation to spend money and time in any museum and just begun wandering the streets of Vienna, trying to think of things I could do so the rest of my day wouldn’t be a total waste. It was a bitter struggle that I’m not sure who the victor was in the end. I decided to stroll over to the Hofburg Palace and Museum quarters and what looked like a really big park.

The Hofburg Palace. Part of it at least.

Turning around to look out at the grounds. Then I saw it, that awesome building in the distance. My spirits lifted a little and I took advantage of this to go satiate my curiosity. I really like Gothic architecture, and this building had plenty of it.

The Rathaus. Definitely one of the coolest looking buildings in all of Vienna. It seems that University of Chicago could be a knock off of this grand building.

Look at that detail! I gotta get me some money so I can build me a house like this. And then sell it, because it would be a pain to clean.

Walking back along the street toward the museum quarters I passed the parliament building.

The Natural History Museum. It seems like Doe Library at Berkeley could be a knockoff of this grand building. Maybe that’s why I like walking past it so much, likewise with UChicago.

And across from the Natural History Museum stands it’s mirror image: The Hunst History Museum. In between stands a statue of Maria Theresa, the only female ruler of the Hapsburg regions.

Across the street stood the Butterfly House where many butterflies live and fly. I didn’t go in, exhaustion was getting the better of me.

I decided to pull out the big guns and bring them into the fight:

My last Cliff Bar in my possession here in Europe. It being blueberry crisp flavor doubles the effectiveness of it. I was desperate at this point. It seemed to alleviate my fatigue a bit, but not my motivation to visit museums.

So I decided to go visit the Schönberg Institute, which is a museum (I thought I would trick myself into entering it). Arnold Schönberg is a 20th century composer who invented 12 tone row and became famous because of it. His daughter manages the institute here along with her husband’s archives in Venice (Luigi Nono, another 20th century composer). We learned about both of them in my harmony class and sat through a seminar given by Nuria Schönberg Nono who came to Berkeley last spring. I ended up inside the entrance to the museum but stopped before going inside. Instead I left and went looking for Beethoven’s Square.

I found it. Ludwig Van Beethoven Square. Complete with a statue of the great master.

And then I decided to check out the city’s enormous central cemetery before it got dark. Because all of these great composition masters are buried there.

Stadt Park Metro Station. Very pretty actually.

I took the metro out to “Simmering,” which makes me think all these folk are burning in hell. Then I took a bus three extra stops. The cemetery itself has three bus stops because it’s so long. This thing is huge. I only made it to the musician’s corner.

Franz Schubert. A romantic composer who died very young, unfortunately. His music is quite beautiful.

Johann Strauss on the left (20th century composer who used Schönberg’s technique) and Johannes Brahms on the right (Romantic composer who succeeded Beethoven and composed Beethoven’s 10th Symphony)

Ludwig Van Beethoven. Maybe a god among men.

Mozart’s memorial (sadly there’s no body underneath this one) stood in between Beethoven’s and Schubert’s graves.

Schönberg is also buried here I think I remember learning, but I couldn’t find him and didn’t continue searching for it. I remember that it’s off to the side and not really in the musician’s corner?

Instead I grabbed this bad boy’s tomb:

This was probably the most touristic moment I’ve witnessed. There is no name plate on this grave. Yet there are so many flowers and wreaths and such that everyone was walking past and taking a photo of it. I think that everyone saw the previous person take a photo and so was like, “Oh, I better get that one too, he must be important or something. Don’t wanna miss out or anything. People might think I’m an idiot if I return without this photo.” Either that, or I’m the idiot and this is actually someone famous. Cool decorations though. Maybe a famous author? I have no idea.

It was completely dark by the time I reached the center of town so I grabbed a bratwurst and walked to a cafe to get a hot chocolate and small brownie. I forgot to say that yesterday, I went to get a hot chocolate and the dude gave me a cup of melted chocolate—no milk, just chocolate. Stunned, I didn’t say anything and just drank it. I was wired for the rest of the night. But today I made sure it had milk in it when I ordered. And instead, once I finished the brownie and drink, I kept nodding off to sleep sitting in that cafe for an hour. I decided to take the long way home and stop by Brahms’s Square and Schubert’s house.

On my way home I saw this church in the distance and so took a photo of it.

Also on the way, I spotted a memorial of Antonin Dvorak, a Czech Composer, sometimes known for his New World Symphony. Homages of this symphony can be heard in films like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Pocahontas.

I made it to Brahms’s Square but something was missing. Something that would actually make it a memorial for Brahms. Instead, there was a playground, and a sign reading “Brahms Platz” which was used more for addresses than anything else. Disappointed, I moved on to Schubert. Unfortunately, his house didn’t exist. There was also no sign and so I walked around this intersection for about 20 minutes searching for nothing it seemed. Giving up, I made it the rest of the way back to the hostel and snuck a shower before boarding the 10pm train to Berlin, the city most full of life out of all the cities I’ve seen so far and probably out of the ones I will see too.

So I definitely missed a ton of things in Vienna which implies that I will necessarily have to return. Next time, I will stay at least 4 days I hope.

One Responseto “Vienna – Another City I Cheated for a Day (28 Dec)”

  1. Nana says:

    Caleb, Your photos & comments regarding Salzburg & Vienna are great. I’m amazed at your interest & determinstion to see so much of Europe on your trip home from Russia. I don’t think that many young men your age would be so dedicated. It makes me proud of you, but it,also, makes me realize, how, being so much older I now don’t have a desire to travel! George & I do appreciate your BLOGGS! Love, Nana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *